Virginia Beach Friends Meeting

December Newsletter

Dear Friends:

Thank you for all who contributed.

Please respond to with ideas for future Newsletter articles and suggestions for improvements.

Thank you,
VBFM Communications Committee


Link to Virginia Beach Friends Meeting Home Page -

Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business

Complete Minutes from our December business meeting are posted at this link…

Recorded Minutes include:

  • The meeting is happy to accept Katherine Alexander Rogers as a new member.
  • Approval of Condemnation Matter and Property Exchange: The Resolution authorizing the settlement of the condemnation action and the property exchange with the Commonwealth of Virginia, a copy of which is posted along with these minutes in our Meeting for Business archives, was read aloud at the meeting, and the matters set forth in the Resolution were approved unanimously.
  • VBFM directs the Trustees to sign the Trustees Agreement approving the Land Swap at the back of School and Condemnation matter related to Dominion Power at the front of Meeting.
  • VBFM accepts the terms of, and directs the Trustees to sign the documents approving the referenced VNG Easement, VNG-VDOT TCE Plat and VNG-VDOT TCE PLAN and compensation, but contingent upon first obtaining all final approvals for the Land Swap at the back of School.
  • The proposed Budget was discussed and approved with the inclusion of a line item of $200 for Clerk Discretionary Funds.
  • Meeting approved a pot luck dinner for the fifth First day of twelfth month, which will include a special project with the young friends. A special events committee will include Tom Bertrand, Nancy Craft, Jeanne Crawford, Hank Ghittino, Gwen Wells.

Announcements include:

  • A Retreat is planned on 2/16/19 with Lloyd Lee Wilson from 9:30-3:30 p.m. His topic is: “Encounter with God, The Root of Testimony and Witness”. There will be a Pot luck lunch.
  • Adult First Day school is beginning. It will take place on the third first day starting in first month from 9:30-10:15 am. It will begin with discussion of a book entitled Engaging Scripture: Reading the Bible with Early Friends by Michael L. Birkel and is considered to be a preparation for worship.

Next Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business is January 13, 2019, 8:30 am in our Meetinghouse.

A girl in Mexico attached her Christmas list to a balloon. A man across the border found it.

Washington Post
By Amy B Wang
December 21, 2018

The spot of red was what first caught Randy Heiss’s attention last Sunday as he hiked the remote expanse of land behind his ranch in Patagonia, Ariz., a town near the U.S.-Mexico border.

Draped against the sacaton grass was a balloon — or at least the tattered remnants of one. Heiss walked toward it with his dog, Feliz, thinking he should pick up the latex pieces and throw them away.

That’s when he noticed the balloon’s string was attached to a piece of paper.

“Dayami,” it read on one side, in a child’s handwriting. A hand-drawn bow accompanied the word.

Heiss flipped it over. It was a numbered list, all in Spanish.

“My Spanish isn’t very good, but I could see it was a Christmas list,” he told The Washington Post in a phone interview Friday.

Heiss was charmed. He suspected that a child had tried to send Santa Claus a Christmas wish list by balloon, something he used to do himself when he was a kid. Nobody had ever returned the letters Heiss had sent aloft — but he wondered whether he couldn’t find the girl who had sent this one.

It would be difficult, but Heiss had a few clues. About 20 miles to the southwest, just across the border, was the city of Nogales, Mexico, with a population of about a quarter-million.

“Based on the prevailing wind, I was pretty doggone sure that’s where it came from,” he said.

Heiss brought the note home to his wife, who is fluent in Spanish and helped him translate the list. They determined that Dayami, probably a girl, had asked for an “Enchantimals” doll, an “Enchantimals” dollhouse, clothes, art supplies and slime, among other things.

Heiss then posted about his quest on Facebook, attaching photos, hoping some of his friends in Nogales might know the girl’s family.

A few days passed, with no leads; Heiss worried that time was running out before Christmas. On Wednesday, he decided to send a private Facebook message to Radio XENY, an AM radio station based in Nogales, according to Nogales International, which first reported the story.

To his surprise, someone from the station called him back right away. Heiss’s wife helped explain the situation to Radio XENY host Cesar Barron, who talked about the quest to find Dayami on air and posted about it on the station’s Facebook page.

On Thursday morning, Heiss awoke to another message from Radio XENY: They had located Dayami, an 8-year-old girl, and her family, who indeed lived in Nogales. Would they be willing to arrange a get-together at the radio station?

“It just changed my entire day,” Heiss said. “Instead of going back to my office in Bisbee, I went with my wife to Walmart.”

They bought just about everything on Dayami’s list, except for the “Enchantimals” dollhouse (it was sold out). They also bought a few other toys for good measure, as they had learned that Dayami had a younger sister, 4-year-old Ximena.

Then the Heisses drove for 45 minutes, crossing the border into Nogales. They arrived at the Radio XENY offices with presents by the armload — and finally met two very excited little girls.

Their parents explained to the Heisses that Dayami had been writing a letter to Santa and sending it by balloon for years, but this was the first year anyone had found their note.

“Their eyes were wide open with wonder,” Heiss said of the two sisters' reactions. “Like, ‘Oh, my gosh, this really did work!' "

Not wanting to spoil Santa Claus for the girls — who still believe, their parents said — Heiss and his wife told them they were “ayudantes de Santa,” or Santa’s helpers.

“It was a beautiful, beautiful experience,” Heiss said.

He paused.

“Quite healing for us,” he added.

Heiss, 60, has lived in southeastern Arizona for more than three decades and now splits his time between Patagonia and the city of Bisbee. Nine years ago, he and his wife lost their only child, a son. They have no grandchildren.

“Being around children at Christmas time has been absent in our lives,” Heiss said. “It’s been kind of a gaping hole in our Christmas experience."

He has since reflected on what a “miracle” it was that he spotted the balloon at all, let alone was able to locate Dayami and her family.

“We now have friends for life,” Heiss said. “And, for a day, that border fence with its concertina wire melted away.”

Luis Velarde contributed to this report.

- submitted by Robert Brown

News from Friends School

December is a busy month in the life of a school, the last week before break always seems to come crashing down upon teachers and families. It was no different for me at Virginia Beach Friends School this year. We had several big academic projects we were working on- schedule review and possible changes, math training for LS teachers, sign ups for second semester in Upper School, and seasonal activities- holiday concert, gingerbread house making, chocolotada, secret santa/hanukkah harry gift exchanges. So when looking at the calendar for the last week of school we weren’t quite sure where Meeting For Worship could/should fall. Mike and I both felt having a final MFW before break would be important and did not want to miss the opportunity for some silence and community gathering. So although our usual Wednesday time was taken, we snuck it on Thursday afternoon*- before Friday’s half day. I’ll admit, I was doubting this decision and wondering if there would indeed be meaningful worship as I rushed over the to Meetinghouse Thursday afternoon. But I have long ago learned to trust in the Spirit, and this was no exception.

The Meetinghouse was packed with our school, a few alumni also had returned to join us, and I opened with a brief introduction about this time of year- Light and Darkness, endings and beginnings, and invited folks to consider that during the meeting. As it turned out it was the last day for one of our 4th grade students, his parents had decided it was time for him to try a local public school to eliminate the lengthy commute for one child, when they have 5. They felt he was ready to do this because of who he had become during his time at Friends. During worship student after student began to share a message of appreciation for this student, and of good wishes and blessings to send him forth.

One Upper School student eventually stood and requested that we “stop embarrassing the poor boy.” What struck me as I listened to these messages, and what I eventually rose to share with the group is that while we were speaking about one particular student that day, we could do the same for each student and faculty member. Friends School has the ability to nurture and bring out the gifts in each of its members. And when we met with Alumni the day prior, we heard them tell us what a good job Friends does of creating people who can find their own gifts and build relationships and resolve conflicts with others.

In the midst of the busyness, we- adults and children alike can forget to acknowledge our appreciation of one another. And much like a Memorial Meeting for Worship this worship let us celebrate our departing student and learn from his time at Friends. I am so deeply grateful to have the foundation of worship on a weekly basis to nurture and strengthen our school community through reflection and shared vocal messages.

I welcome VB Friends to join us for worship some week. You are always welcome, and you never know where Spirit may lead.

With appreciation for time to stop and listen even in the busyness,

- Galen Hamann, Assistant Head of School

Now the Work of Christmas Begins

"When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,

when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with their flocks,

the work of Christmas begins:
to find the lost,
to heal the broken,

to feed the hungry,
to release the prisoner,
to rebuild the nations,

to bring peace among the people,
to make music in the heart."

- Howard Thurman

Howard Washington Thurman was an African-American author, philosopher, theologian, educator, and civil rights leader. As a prominent religious figure, he played a leading role in many social justice movements and organizations of the twentieth century.

- Submitted by Mary Pelham White


QuakerSpeak is a project of Friends Journal and is directed by Jon Watts.

Communications Committee and the VBFM Newsletter staff decided to focus on a different QuakerSpeak video for each of our issues in 2018, and will continue in 2019.


This month...

Quaker author Lloyd Lee Wilson believes that there are many paths to God, but that once you’ve picked one, you have to be “all in.” What does that look like for the Quaker path?

Adult First Day School 2019

The Adult First Day classes will have different leaders and different topics throughout the year.

Patrick Goold introduces the discussion that he will begin leading in January:

I am starting off by leading a discussion of the book Engaging Scripture: Reading the Bible with Early Friends by Earlham professor Michael Birkel. (Click here for the Goodreads review...)

A spiritual life cannot be based on external authority but must grow out of an individual’s personal experience of the Light.

And yet the writings of early Quakers are full of Biblical references and there is abundant testimony about the frequent use of biblical language in spoken ministry (See this chapter from a book on early Quakerism for some background in their use of the Bible).

I am suspicious of any attempt to turn a book into an authority over the spirit. History is full of examples of misguided attempts to use the Bible as an instrument of control over others. Early Quakers suffered directly from many such attempts. But they did not respond by eschewing the Bible as many modern Quakers do. They clearly found in the Bible language that deepened and expanded the spiritual power in their lives and testimonies.

I want to understand whether we, too, might read the Bible as a source of language that could deepen and expand our own experience of the light within, and if so, how.

I hope you will join me in a friendly conversation using Michael Birkel’s gentle text as a springboard.

The goal is not only to understand Quaker history but to reflect on how our imaginations and our language could become more adequate media for experience of the divine light.

- Patrick Goold

Adult First Day School meets at 9:30 am on the third Sunday of the month.

Patrick's discussion will begin on January 20.

Everyday Prophets Still Needed: Post-Election Reflection

By Diane Randall, Executive Secretary of FCNL, abridged by Dan Read (Durham Friends Meeting)

Full text at

The elections are over. The new 116th Congress will start on Jan. 3, 2019 with no single party controlling all the levers of power. This election brought a huge a resurgence of engagement in our democracy. Hundreds of new people ran for office. More women—including for the first time Native American and Muslim women—were elected than ever before.

It is our fervent hope that those elected to this Congress will support policies and legislation for ALL Americans and turn back the forces of intolerance, racism, white supremacy, and incivility that plague our nation. The midterm election tells us that participatory democracy matters. Civility matters. Our country needs national unity, not nationalism. Our country needs hope in a future for our children and for a peaceful world.

The midterm election exposed the raw fissures that divide our country. The dark forces that marginalize and harm people in this country today are making our nation weak. Countering this malignancy requires our political leaders to speak out for people’s freedom to practice religion without fear; for citizens’ right to vote without obstacles; for every person’s right to healthcare; for a country that promotes peace, diplomacy and the rule of law. Congress can exert positive leadership, rather than destructive division.

As Quakers, we try consistently to speak truth to power. We strive to see that of God in every person. People of faith and people who live from an ethical and moral basis seek to #Lovethyneighbor (no exceptions).

However, who we elect to Congress is only one indicator of the health of our democracy and the state of our society. Just as important is the persistent engagement of people with our government, no matter who holds the power of elective office. We need to be engaged as the everyday prophets whose lives and witness project hope amid disappointments and the political maelstrom of today. Democracy is not won or lost in just one election. Rather, democracy needs to be continually tested, strengthened, and rebuilt regularly for it to survive.

As people of faith, we are reminded of our prophetic witness for truth in times of deep division—over slavery, over women’s suffrage, over war. We will faithfully stand together with people of good will to work for a world without war, with equity and justice, where every person’s potential is fulfilled, and the earth is restored.

A December 2018 Visit to Fort Myers Meetinghouse

This Meeting House was a little drive from the Sanibel area, since it is located in Northern Fort Myers, but it was well worth the drive, as it surpassed all our expectations.

Fort Myers Friends meet at the Iona House in the tranquil and peaceful Calusa Nature Center, near the Planetarium and the Butterfly Garden, on a 105 acres environmental and educational nonprofit area.

We arrived early on this very pleasant Sunday morning, and Robert decided to take a long self guided walk along one of the several nature trails, exploring the forest while waiting for the Museum opening at 11 A.M. for the iguanas, alligators, pythons, turtles and tortoises, and other reptiles.

(Later he told me how well they are cared for, especially the wounded ones).

At the Meeting House Suzanne Frechette, Illustrator, Master Gardner, and Master Naturalist, warmly greeted me offering me a Welcome "Information Packet for Newcomers and Seekers".

This Packet contained a first Paper addressed to first time Visitors to the Meeting explaining how to behave and why. A second Letter in the Packet was called Love the Meeting House. The next was a Love Letter to Newcomers. Next was a Paper on Quaker Earthcare Witness on Ecofriendliness and the Action Network with Canadian Yearly Meeting... And so forth.

But this was much more than a Welcome Packet.

Already, before entering the Meeting House, I had met a small group of people having a Committee Meeting outside. A woman had come toward me, graciously introducing herself saying they were having a "Board Meeting", and inviting me to go inside.

There I had found about 35 people sitting in a circle singing a beautiful hymn in praise of God. During the intermission, when I told them that I was from Virginia Beach Meeting, someone mentioned North Carolina traditional Quakerism.

"The Meeting in the Silence" started at 10:30 A.M.

I learned a lot this Sunday, about the Earth Care, about our Spiritual Journey Home, about the Rules for fighting fair, about Freeing Ourselves from Possessions, about Friends Children (Appalachian yearly Meeting), about Friends for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Concerns (FLGBTQC is an important part of Quaker Faith Community),

One important program this group seems involved in is the Friends Committee on National Legislation, proudly showing FCNL's dedication, with the concept and the belief to 'Walk gently on the Earth". FCNL received the first award green building on Capitol Hill!

We are all very familiar with FCNL, thanks to our Peace and Social Justice involvement in our Virginia Beach Meeting.

I learned that the renovated construction housing FCNL offices shows Congress how Quakers designed green architecture, practical and feasible, and what an important model this building is to follow by others in order to reduce energy consumption and, in turn, U.S. greenhouse emission. (See FCNL website for more information).

Some of Friends' messages to the World that I brought back from this visit are the familiar sense of peace and humbleness, the warm fellowship, the profound respect for the Nature and for one another, all experienced in the harmony of a peaceful environment.

We see all this reflected in our testimony as Quakers in the World.

Thank you and many Blessings to all of you and your families for the New Year.
- Liana Fleming

Litter Free Virginia

There is a fairly new organization, Litter Free Virginia, which Lynnhaven River Now is a member organization -

Litter Free Virginia (LFV) is a gathering place for organizations and individuals that are interested in decreasing litter in the Commonwealth, whether that be through legislation, policy or community engagement. Litter Free Virginia is a collaboration between dozens of organizations that care deeply about litter pollution.

Why does Litter Free Virginia exist? Frankly, the zero waste movement in Virginia needs a little structure. There are so many organizations, legislators and citizens that are fed up with litter in their respective communities, but they’re having trouble talking to each other (it’s a big state!) It’s likely that a handful of similar litter prevention bills will be independently introduced at the next legislative session. Our mission is to keep you informed of these bills, and when the time comes, we want to let you know if and when these bills will be voted on so you can contact local legislators.

Read More Here...


There are two bills in this year's General Assembly mix of bills regarding single use plastics. One in the house, sponosr Betsy Carr, is a tax on all disposable bags, paper and plastic., HB 1669. And the one is the senate, sponsor Mamie Locke, is the local authority bill that we have discussed and is a carry over from last year, SB 193. House bill goes to the Finance Committee and the Senate bill goes to the Local Government.

Find Out More Here...

FWCC 2019 Section Meeting

The 2019 Section Meeting of the Friends World Committee for Consultation(FWCC) Section of the Americas will be held March 21-24, 2019 at Lake Doniphan Camp and Conference Center, just outside Kansas City, Missouri, in the central plains region of the United States. Any Friend can attend, but pre-registration is required.

Please read about HOUSING OPTIONS here before going to the registration form.


Read about the SPEAKERS and WORKSHIPS!

Click here to

Campaign to Promote the Treaty on the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons

The local organizing group that formed earlier this year to promote the Treaty on the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons met again in December at the Catholic Worker House in Norfolk.

There is a new campaign of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), called the Appeal to Cities:

Los Angeles, Sydney and Toronto join new ICAN Cities Appeal
November 7, 2018

ICAN today launches the Cities Appeal, a commitment by cities and towns to show support for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and call on their governments to join.

Major cities such as Baltimore, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Sydney and Toronto have already committed themselves to the Appeal which states:

Our city/town is deeply concerned about the grave threat that nuclear weapons pose to communities throughout the world. We firmly believe that our residents have the right to live in a world free from this Threat. Any use of nuclear weapons, whether deliberate or accidental, would have catastrophic, far-reaching and long-lasting consequences for people and the environment. Therefore, we warmly welcome the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons by the United Nations in 2017, and we call on our national government to join it.

Why cities?

Why do they matter when the decisions about international affairs are made at a national level?

Read More Here...

Our group brainstormed and came up with a lot of good ideas on how to promote/support the Treaty on the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons in Hampton Roads, including investigating how our group can become an officially recognized ICAN group, and how best to grow our group in Hampton Roads.


I will admit - when Steve Baggarly and Tom Bertrand first approached me about this effort last December, I was skeptical: how can we make a difference at this scale? - David vs. Goliath, Don Quixote...

In the meetings we've held this year, the progress we have made, the depth and energy of those who have gathered with us - and with the support we've learned about from good people around the world, I am a believer now!

I do believe that we can make a difference in our lifetime to realize a Nuclear Weapon Free World for our children and their children, Unto The Seventh Generation...

Our group's next meeting will be in January.

Contact if you would like more information and/or would like to attend our group's next meeting.

-Whit Peace

Quaker Funning

Q: How many Quakers does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: Thirty-three: One to raise a concern at Preparative Meeting that the lightbulb is no longer working. Ten at PM to set up a lightbulb replacement subgroup to send a report to Monthly Meeting. Three to work on the subgroup and report to MM. Fifteen at MM to discern that the right way forward is to change the lightbulb. One to report back to Meeting that the bulb is going to be changed. One person to change the bulb. One person to write an article for the MM newsletter about changing the bulb. One to write a letter to The Friend saying that the decision about changing the lightbulb had not been in Right Ordering.


Q. How do Friends start a race?
A. Ready…..set…..go when the Spirit moves you!

(thanks to Old Town Friends, Baltimore, MD)

Save The Dates!

Listed below are events that Virginia Beach Friends Meeting is supporting/promoting for the next three months - as recorded on our website at the time this month's Newsletter was published.

Frequently check our Virginia Beach Friends Meeting Upcoming Events webpage as event details are worked out and new events are added.

Regenerative Yoga Therapy

Dates: Thursdays
Time: 1:30-2:30 pm
Location: Meeting house
Cost: $12 per session
Contact: April Megginson,

Fifth Sunday Potluck

Date: Sunday, December 30
Time: Noon
Location: Meetinghouse

VBFS Basketball - Alumni vs. Current Friends Basketball

Date: Saturday, January 5
Time: 2 – 5 pm
Location: Wilson Center

Lynnhaven River Now Waterway Cleanup

Date: Saturday, January 12
Time: 9 am - noon
Meet Up Location: Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)

Friends School Stand Up Comedy Night

Date: Saturday, January 12
Time: 7 - 9 pm
Location: Friends School

Coastal Friends Gathering

Date: Saturday January 19
Time: 11 am worship followed by potluck
Location: Home of Mary Kay Glazer and Mark Moss
1607 Rondo Dr., Greenville , NC 27858

Friends School Open House

Date: Saturday January 19
Time: 1 - 3 pm
Location: Friends School

Day for All People

Date: Tuesday January 22
Time: 8 am
Location: Richmond Virginia

Work Day at the Meetinghouse

Date: Saturday February 2
Time: 9:00 am - noon
Location: Meetinghouse

Lynnhaven River Now Waterway Cleanup

Date: Saturday, February 9
Time: 9 am - noon
Meet Up Location: Francis Land House
3131 Virginia Beach Blvd, Virginia Beach, VA 23452

Spiritual Retreat with Lloyd Lee Wilson

Date: Saturday February 16
Time: 9:30 am - 3:30 pm (Potluck Lunch
Location: Meetinghouse

Next Meeting for Business Query - #6 / Growth of Our Children:

Do we endeavor by example and precept to cultivate in our children a sense of openness and expectancy about life, and to aid them in their growth in spiritual understanding and moral discernment? Do we share with them the faith that guides the practice of Friends, while encouraging them to develop their religious insights as the of the Spirit of God may lead them?

Next Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business is January 13, 2019, 8:30 am in our Meetinghouse.


Maintained By: Communications Committee
Updated: Monthly